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Who Killed the Family Moore, why and what's the reason for?
June 11, 2012 9:34 AM   Subscribe

The Ax Murderer Who Got Away - Shortly after midnight on June 10, 1912—one hundred years ago this week—a stranger hefting an ax lifted the latch on the back door of a two-story timber house in the little Iowa town of Villisca.

Further information (via the bottom of the linked article):

*The Villisca Ax Murders Blog
*1911-1912 Midwest Ax Murders - a transient serial killer?
*Kingensmith, Beth H. "The 1910s Ax Murders"
*Blood, gore and tourism (Salon)
posted by IvoShandor (14 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
Well that was a thoroughly creepy read. Great post!
posted by saladin at 9:45 AM on June 11, 2012


As long as we're talking about ax murders in the early 1900s we can mention that New Orleans had its own set of killings.
posted by komara at 10:04 AM on June 11, 2012


Axe murderers are so quaint, like butter churns and buggy whips. Thanks for this interesting post.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 10:10 AM on June 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


komara beat me to the mention of the New Orleans Axeman by just a couple of minutes.
posted by Gelatin at 10:10 AM on June 11, 2012


At least nobody in these comments has an . . .

axe to grind.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:17 AM on June 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


FWIW, I wrote a report on this event for my "Iowa Project" in 5th grade.
posted by mcstayinskool at 11:23 AM on June 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


What exactly was Lizbeth Borden up to in June of 1912?
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:44 AM on June 11, 2012


My husband and I got a tour of the house and cemetery from Darwin, the gentleman mentioned in the Salon article. It was so sad to think about all those children being killed, especially the Stillinger girls. Any other night and they would have been safe at their home. Darwin was a fount of knowledge; he'd answer any question you had and ten more you hadn't thought of.
posted by epj at 12:03 PM on June 11, 2012


On the topic of old-timey axe murders another good read is about the murder of the Reed family at the Mission San Miguel in 1846...it even involves mountain man Jim Beckwourth discovering the bodies and alerting the authorities. Unlike the Villisca axe-murders, though, justice was (mostly) served in this case...
posted by jnnla at 12:40 PM on June 11, 2012


Axe murderers are so quaint

There's this TV show called Breaking Bad that might disabuse you of that notion.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:46 PM on June 11, 2012


Great post!! More history nerd posts,please,sir.
posted by Isadorady at 1:06 PM on June 11, 2012


We like to mix up our old-timey axes and our up-to-the-minute drug-dealers in ye olde Vancouver town.
posted by moneyjane at 7:54 PM on June 11, 2012


My grandmother was born in Villisca around 1910, and my mother was born and lived in Villisca until she grew up and went to college. Villisca used to be quaint American small town with a Main Street that Walt Disney would love, amazing red brick gothic courthouse.

It's a terrific unsolved murder. Axe marks in the ceiling, 6" x 12" section of unsliced bacon used as a masturbatory aid, freaky miniature ministers with needs too “obscene, lewd, lascivious and filthy as to be improper to spread upon the record,” ", a bearded Bulgarian Lace Salesman, and a suspect whose estranged wife had been the victim of an axe murderer in Illinois.
posted by ohshenandoah at 1:13 PM on June 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Villisca used to be quaint American small town with a Main Street that Walt Disney would love, amazing red brick gothic courthouse.

A couple things I am curious about:

Used to be? What's it like now, out of curiosity?

Also, you mentioned the courthouse, and, because I am a freak for buildings, I went straight away to the wiki (which I avoided for this post) and saw this Romanesque courthouse in nearby Red Oak, are you sure that's not the one you're thinking of?
posted by IvoShandor at 4:14 PM on June 12, 2012


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